Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grain and Dairy Free Tacos

Taco night need not be a cheat night in the kitchen.
Here's a way to make it Paleo-Friendly. The leaves of small heads of Boston Bibb lettuce make great taco shells. Here I've filled them with a chicken recipe that's traditionally used for enchiladas and topped it all with grape tomatoes, avocado, and a little hot sauce. This meal had all the flavor of great Mexican cooking, but no corn, flour, or cheese. Omit the salt if you want this to be strictly Paleo.

Paleo-Friendly Tacos
6 dried guajillo chiles
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
1-2 heads of Boston Bibb lettuce
Chicken broth or water (enough to cover chicken below)
1 to 1.5 Pounds chicken breast or tenders.
3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Large Onion, peeled and quartered
4 Tomatoes, cored and quartered
2 Teaspoons ground cumin seed
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper
2 Cups grape tomatoes,quartered
1 Large avocado, seeded, peeled, and cubed
Hot sauce, to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Seed and stem the chiles and soak them in the vinegar. Separate the leaves of the lettuce and remove the tough white core from the inner leaves. Wash the leaves, spin them dry, and set them aside. Pour the stock or water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken, wait for the stock to return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Poach the chicken just until cooked through. Reserve the cooking stock and allow the chicken to cool until it can be shredded by hand. Pull the chicken apart into small shreds and place it in a large bowl. Heat the oil over medium heat in large pan or skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Drain the chiles and add them to the skillet with the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes release their juices and the chiles have become soft, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and season with salt (if using) and pepper. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth. Add just enough of your reserved stock to make the mixture smooth and creamy but not watery. Pour just enough of the sauce (probably half to three-fourths) onto the chicken to create a pasty taco filling. You can freeze the remaining sauce for your next taco night. Spoon two heaping tablespoons of filling into each lettuce shell. Top with grape tomato, avocado, a squeeze of lime, and a few drops of hot sauce.

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